Semi-final match ups with Eastern looming –
Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
Coach Austin Kingsolver and his West Union 1 “B” baseball squad are still alive and kicking in the Southern Hills Youth League, advancing to the semi-finals by virtue of a pair of wins, the first over a fellow West Union team and the second over Whiteoak.
Kingsolver’s troops began tourney play with a 12-0 win over West Union 2, rolling to a win behind the southpaw pitching of Zane Kingsolver. The West Union 1 offense got busy early, scoring five times in their first at-bat, sending 11 batters to the plate and taking advantage of four walks issued by WU2 pitching. After going down in order in the second, a lead off home run by Brycen Staten in the bottom of the third and then a run scored by Braxton Blanton made it 7-0.
One long ball wasn’t enough, so Staten repeated the performance in the bottom of the fourth with another dinger as part of another five-run outburst that sewed up the 12-0 win.
After moving on with the opening round win, West Union 1 faced off with Whiteoak in the quarterfinals of the tourney and again had no problems, coasting to a 14-5 triumph.
With Conner Campbell on the mound and setting down Whiteoak in order in the top of the first, West Union plated two in their half when Campbell singled, Alex Pollard walked, and Staten stayed hot and brought them both home with a two-bagger. After Whiteoak tied the game with two runs in the top of the second, West Union broke it open in the bottom half, scoring seven times, with Dakota Pell, Noah Howellett, Steven Runyan, Aiden Weeks, Campbell, Pollard, and Kingsolver all crossing the plate as their team jumped ahead 9-2.
A base hit by Blanton, who later came around to score made it 10-2 in the third, until Whiteoak added two more in the fourth, but West Union answered two of their own in the bottom of the fourth on a walk to Weeks, a triple by Pollard, and a double by Kingsolver. A base hit by Cameron Campbell and a three-bagger by Blanton helped produce two more runs in the fifth as West Union rolled to the tourney semi-finals.
“Our pitching dominated and was a big factor in determining the outcome of both of those games,” said Coach Kingsolver. “Zane and Conner both have really come into their own as my top two starters. With Brycen coming in to finish games off, it’s tough for other teams to get much going offensively.”
“Our hitting has been very consistent these past few games. Everything is finally coming together and it’s the perfect time for that.”
West Union 1 is now scheduled to play Eastern 1 in the “B” tournament semis in Peebles, but after a couple of weather cancellations, the date for that match up was still being determined at press time.